CSI 2*

Christian Kukuk Saves the Best for Last in the €53,050 Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort Grand Prix CSI 3*

Oliva Nova, Valencia, Spain – January 22, 2022 – The second week of Spring MET I 2023 concluded on Sunday with a German victory in the €53,050 Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort, as Christian Kukuk (GER) and Nice van’t Zorgvliet took the top honours after an exciting jump-off. 

A total of nine horse-and-rider-combinations from the 60 pairs at start cleared the first-round track – among them some of the biggest names in the sport: Steve Guerdat (SUI) – 2012 Olympic Champion and 2021 European Team Champion – and Is-Minka (Mylord Carthago x Flyinge Quite Easy 958), Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) – 2020 Olympic Team Champion and 2022 World Team Champion – and Harley Davidson (Hip Hop x Calypso III ) as well as Jérôme Guery (BEL) – 2022 World Vice Champion – and Nestor de Mariposa (Elvis Ter Putte x Berlin) were joined by Harry Charles (GBR) – who leads the FEI U25 world ranking – aboard his new mount Balou du Reventon (Cornet Obolensky x Continue), Christian Kukuk (GER) and Nice van’t Zorgvliet (Emerald x Heartbreaker), Alexa Ferrer (FRA) and Arka de La Hart Z (Arko III x Kashmir Van Schuttershof ), Nicolas Deseuzes (FRA) and Drugster des Forets (Kannan x Corofino) and furthermore two pairs from the host nation; Fernando Fourcade Lopez (ESP) on Colari R (Colestus x Lordanos) and Mariano Martinez Bastida (ESP) on Belano vd Wijnhoeve Z (Berlin x Darco). 

First out in the jump-off, Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) and Harley Davidson jumped a smooth round, setting the standard with their time of 43.12 seconds. However, Alex Ferrer (FRA) and Arka de La Hart Z – a pair that is no stranger to winning at Oliva Nova – gave it their best shot, crossing the finish line in 40.66 and taking over the lead.

With a left-hand approach to the first fence, Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Is-Minka slotted in between Ferrer and Baryard-Johnsson when the clock stopped on 41.07 for the Swiss Olympic Champion.

As the last pair out in the jump-off, Christian Kukuk (GER) and Nice van’t Zorgvliet flew around the vast Oliva Nova arena, taking the win with the smallest of margins; 0.15 seconds ahead of Ferrer in second, pushing Guerdat to third and Baryard-Johnsson to fourth, while Charles and Balou du Reventon finished fifth. 

“Luckily, I got a very good position for the jump-off as last to go, so I could follow all my colleagues before me,” Kukuk said after his victory. “I saw Alexa and she looked very fast. Then I saw Steve; I thought he was very quick as well, and his jump-off was super. After seeing Steve, I knew there was not too much we could do; we just had to give it our all. We did, and today was thankfully one of those days when it all worked out – now we are very happy.”

Final Results – €53,050 Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort Grand Prix CSI 3*

1) Christian Kukuk (GER) & Nice van’T Zorgvliet – 0 / 0 – 40.51

2) Alex Ferrer (FRA) & Arka de La Hart Z – 0 / 0 – 40.66

3) Steve Guerdat (SUI) & Is-Minka – 0 / 0 – 41.07

Source: Press Release from the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour

Photos: © MET / Hervé Bonnaud / 1clicphoto.com